Post-Progressive Christianity: Part 8, Science

By and large, progressive Christians have a high view of science. For post-evangelical progressives, their embrace of science was one of the triggers that caused them to leave behind the flat, literal readings of the Bible, Genesis in particular, common within evangelicalism.

As a post-progressive, I agree with this, I also have a very high view of science. And science does affect how I read the Bible.

But that said, my take is that science does more to progressive Christians than just affect their hermeneutics. Science plays a huge part in producing the disenchantment and doubt ascendant in progressive Christian circles. Their strong, positive, enthusiastic embrace of science causes many progressive Christians to doubt basic tenets of the Christian faith, from the resurrection of Jesus to the existence of God.

In short, among progressive Christians, science regularly bullies, intimates, and pushes faith around.

But for my part, as I've journeyed into a post-progressive Christianity, my attitude toward science has changed drastically.

That change can be summed up in an attitude. Faith has nothing to apologize for in the face of science. If anything, faith pushes science around.

I appreciate science, and stand in awe at what it has accomplished. I am deeply grateful for what science has done to eliminate pain and suffering in our world. And yet, when it comes to the deepest things, the parts of life that make us deeply and fully human, science just falls silent. And it's in those spaces and places where science steps aside and faith takes center stage. Human life, truly human life, requires meaning, morality and metaphysics. And science can't help with any of that. If anything, science erodes all of it. Drill down deeper and deeper into the equations and laws of physics the more devoid of meaning, morality and metaphysics the world becomes. The products of science are life-giving, yes, but science itself, as a guide to what's true, beautiful and good? It's anti-human.

To be clear, I do think there are many progressive Christians who, as progressives, are growing more confident in letting faith push science around. But it's not the most common move.

And so, the contrast...

I AM A PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN in that I fully embrace the fruits and findings of science and happily work to reconcile the Bible with those fruits and findings.

I AM A POST-PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN in that science does not trigger doubt or skepticism about God or the metaphysical aspects of the Christian faith. In fact, when it comes to what makes us fully human and alive, how we should live and make beauty and meaning, when we arrive to face the deepest, most important things in life, it is science that steps aside as faith steps into the spotlight.

This entry was posted by Richard Beck. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply